The Laurel Group has released an excellent White Paper on Cloud Computing that includes a Q&A session with Brian Stevens, Red Hat CTO. The paper can be accessed here. The paper has Q&A sessions with visionaries/thought leaders from companies such as IBM, Cisco, Citrix etc. It is an excellent read.
Brian talks about Cloud 2.0. I agree with him. There is a need for research/standards around security for ushering an era of Cloud 2.0. Brian also makes an important point about the SLA language needed to be updated to include the value of data rather than just the value of service (uptime, response times etc). In my opinion, the SLA should also incorporate encryption policies for data, as data security is going to be of the utmost importance in the public/outsourced cloud environment.
Currently, the cloud is relevant to private clouds and outsourcing IT duties for SME, who do not have the capital to host their own compute infrastructure.
I think rather than term the cloud to be just a hype, it is prudent to watch the developments and adopt it over time. Incorporating private clouds is certainly going to benefit companies, irrespective of size.
Lets see how long it takes to see successful ubiquitous 'IT as a service'. It is probably only a few years away. Usecases such as Eli Lilly usage of AWS to yield results for $89 (private investment would have been a billion) cannot be ignored. :)
Lets look at the current state of security in the cloud. Amazon CTO Werner Vogels talks about 3 tiered security in AWS (Physical, Operational and Programmatic Security). Only a selected set of Amazon employees have access to the data centres and infrastructure.
Do not forget to take a peek at the Red Hat Open Source Cloud Computing Forum.